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Cablegate: Court Convicts Murderer of Peace Corps Volunteer

VZCZCXRO7093
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #1565 1830928
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 010928Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1149
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE

UNCLAS MANILA 001565

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR EAP/MTS
PASS TO PEACE CORPS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL CASC ASEC RP
SUBJECT: COURT CONVICTS MURDERER OF PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEER

REF: A. 07 MANILA 2076 (ARROYO CONFERS AWARDS ON PEACE
CORPS)
B. 07 MANILA 1358 (MEDAL OF ACHIEVEMENT FOR PEACE
CORPS VOLUNTEER)
C. 07 MANILA 1308 (FOREIGN SECRETARY'S REMARKS AT
PCV MEMORIAL)
D. 07 MANILA 1281 (FILIPINOS MOURN LOSS OF PEACE
CORPS VOLUNTEER)
E. 07 MANILA 1232 (PEACE CORPS DIRECTOR VISITS
PHILIPPINES)

1. (U) SUMMARY: On June 30, a Banaue regional trial court
convicted Juan Donald Duntugan for the April 2007 murder of
Peace Corps volunteer Julia Campbell and sentenced Duntugan
to "reclusion perpetua," or up to 40 years in prison --
essentially a life sentence. The judge also ordered the
defendant to pay 39.7 million pesos (USD 882,450) in civil
liabilities and damages to the victim's family. The judge
decided that the condition of the slain Peace Corps
volunteer's body warranted elevation of the conviction from
manslaughter to murder. This decision came just 15 months
after Juan Donald Duntugan confessed to the killing. Julia
Campbell's murder sparked intense empathy from political
figures and media alike, recollecting the invaluable role of
the Peace Corps mission in the Philippines over the last 47
years. END SUMMARY.

2. (U) Julia Campbell, a Peace Corps volunteer just two
months short of finishing her two-year tour in the
Philippines, disappeared on April 8, 2007, while hiking in
the Banaue rice terraces in northern Luzon. After an intense
police and military search organized and led by RSO, her
severely beaten body was recovered in the Banaue area. On
April 27, Juan Donald Duntugan surrendered to the police,
claiming that in a fit of rage he mistook Campbell for
someone else.

3. (U) After the guilty verdict, Ambassador Kenney expressed
the U.S. Government's satisfaction that the case had come to
a close, noting that "the Peace Corps would continue the work
that had been so meaningful to (Julia)." Julia's sister
attended the Banaue court's promulgation hearing on behalf of
the Campbell family and said that Julia's family and friends
were very pleased with the court's guilty decision.

4. (SBU) COMMENT: The relative speed of the Campbell trial,
completed after only 15 months, and the extraordinary
cooperation between the Philippine government and the Peace
Corps throughout the search, investigation, and prosecution
demonstrates the value and importance of the Peace Corps
mission to the Filipino people. More than 8,000 Peace Corps
volunteers have served in the Philippines since 1961, leaving
lasting legacies in 38 provinces throughout the country.


Visit Embassy Manila's Classified SIPRNET website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eap/manila/index. cfm

You can also access this site through the State Department's
Classified SIPRNET website.
http://www.state.sgov.gov/

KENNEY

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